Pridi Banomyong ( th, ปรีดี พนมยงค์, , ; 11 May 1900 – 2 May 1983), also known by his noble title Luang Praditmanutham ( th, หลวงประดิษฐ์มนูธรรม) was a Thailand, Thai politician and professor. As a Thai Regent, Prime Minister of Thailand, prime minister and senior Politician, statesman of Thailand, he also held multiple ministerial posts. He was a leader of the civilian wing of Khana Ratsadon, founder of Thammasat University, University of Moral and Political Sciences and the Bank of Thailand. Born to a poor family of farmers in Ayutthaya Province, he nonetheless received a good education, becoming one of the nation's youngest barristers in 1919, at the age of nineteen. In 1920, he won scholarship to study in France, where he graduated from University of Caen Normandy, University of Caen with a master's degree, and completed his doctorate from University of Paris in 1927. In the same year, he co-founded Khana Ratsadon with like-minded Siamese overseas students. After returning to Thailand, still called Siam at the time, he worked as a judge, judicial secretariat, and professor. In the aftermath of 1932 Siamese Revolution, he played an important role in drafting two of the country's first constitutions and proposing a socialist economic plan. His plan was ill received, and Pridi went into a short period of political exile. On his return, he took many ministerial posts in Khana Ratsadon's governments. His significant contributions include modernizing Thai legal codes, laying the foundation for Thailand's local government system, negotiating the cancellation of unequal treaty, unequal treaties with the West, and tax reform. Pridi diverged from Plaek Phibunsongkhram after the latter's apparent tendencies for dictatorship in the 1930s, marking the beginning of the long rivalry between the two Khana Ratsadon leaders, and Pridi made a regent during 1941 to 1945, a powerless post at the time. Shortly thereafter, he became leader of the domestic Free Thai Movement during World War II. His move to legitimate Plaek's declaration of war against the Allies proved fruitful and after the war, and the King thought of him as a senior statesman. He briefly became Prime Minister for a brief period in 1946, but his political opponents painted him as the mastermind behind the mysterious death of King Ananda Mahidol, and a coup in 1947 cost him his political power. An attempt to stage a counter-coup in 1949 failed and Pridi spent the rest of his life living in exile. He died in Paris in 1983, and his ashes were brought back to Thailand three years later. His image ranged from that of an anti-monarchist democrat to a republican. The branding of Pridi as a communist and a mastermind of King Ananda's death has since been regarded as politically motivated, which his opponents continued to use even after his death. However, Pridi won every libel lawsuit in Thailand filed against those who promoted such views. He became a symbol of resistance against military dictatorships, as well as a symbol of liberalism, and Thammasat University. The centenary of his birth was celebrated by UNESCO in 2000.


Pridi wrote that his great-great-great grandfather, Heng, was a native of Etang Village in the Chenghai District, Chenghai County of Guangdong Province, southern China, who came to Siam during the reign of Boromaracha V (Ekkathat) (r. 17581767), leaving behind his wife, who was pregnant with their son, Seng. Heng lived in Siam among the Chinese relatives of King Taksin, who recruited some of the local Chinese, including Heng, to fight against the Burmese invaders in 1767. Heng died in the service of the half-Chinese king. Taksin compensated Heng's family, after they sent a letter inquiring about him. Seng chose to live his life in China as a rice farmer. However, Seng's son, Tan Nai Kok (陳盛于/陈盛于; Chen Chengyu; Tan Sêng-u), emigrated to Siam in 1814, during the reign of King Buddha Loetla Nabhalai, Rama II. Nai Kok settled in Ayutthaya (city), Ayutthaya and made his living by selling Chinese and Thai sweets; it is said he had made innovations by combining Chinese cuisine, Chinese and Thai cuisine, Thai culinary skills. A devout Buddhism, Buddhist, Nai Kok married a Thai woman named Pin. Pin's sister, Boonma, would become an ancestor of Pridi's wife Poonsuk. Their son, Nai Koet, married Khum, daughter of a wealthy Chinese entrepreneur. When Nai Koet died, his wife directed that his remains were to be Cremation, cremated and interred at the shrine at Phanomyong Hill, which is the origin of their Thai surname. Their son, Nai Siang, who became a wealthy rice merchant, married Lukchan; they were the parents of Pridi.

Early life and education

Pridi Phanomyong was born in Tha Wasukri Ayutthaya Province, the second of five children. He had two half-siblings from his father's minor wife. In 1915, following a royal decree issued by King Vajiravudh, Pridi and his family dropped "Nai" from their names. He finished a secondary education from Suankularb Wittayalai School. After having graduated with an LLB and a Barrister from Faculty of Law, Thammasat University, Thai Royal College of Law in 1919, he received a government scholarship to study law and political economy at Sciences Po in Paris. He also began assembling a group of fifty civil servants who wanted to replace the absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy while studying. He earned a law PhD and a Higher diploma of economy. In 1927 he returned to Siam that year to work for the Ministry of Justice. He quickly rose in rank, and was granted the royal title Luang (title), Luang Praditmanutham ( th, หลวงประดิษฐ์มนูธรรม).

Political career

People's Party

On 24 June 1932, ''Khana Ratsadon'', the tiny People's Party (Thailand), People's Party, with Pridi as the leader of the civilian faction, carried out a lightning coup that abruptly ended 150 years of absolute monarchy under the Chakri Dynasty. In 1933, accused of being a communist, Pridi went into exile when his radical economic plans, It's common called "White-cover book" , which called for the nationalisation of land, public employment, and social security, were rejected by royalists and some ex-members of Khana Ratsadon, who shut down parliament and the judiciary. It is noted, however, that many ideas he proposed were finally came into existence, such as the national bank and National Economic Council, and the conservatives only agreed to Pridi in founding national lottery.

Khana Ratsadon ministerial posts

Pridi returned to Thailand in 1934 to found Thammasat University as an open university, before assuming the posts of Minister of the Interior that year, Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1935, and Minister of Finance in 1938. As Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1936 to 1937, Pridi signed treaties revoking the Extraterritoriality, extraterritorial rights of 12 countries. With these treaties, Thailand was able to regain independence with regard to legal jurisdiction and taxation for the first time since unequal treaties were signed under duress during the reign of King Rama IV. Although he had been friends with Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram during the early days of the People's Party, the two fell out in subsequent years. Pridi was anti-Japanese as well as left-leaning. He opposed many of Phibun's militaristic policies which tended to be more conciliatory toward the Japanese. The antipathy between the two would define how Thailand fared in World War II when Japan was on the march in Asia.

Free Thai movement

On 8 December 1941, Imperial Japan launched attacks on Southeast Asia and the Allies of World War II, Allied possessions in the region, opening the Pacific War. This included Japanese Invasion of Thailand, amphibious landings in Thailand and an invasion across the border from French Indochina. After initially resisting, the Thai government reluctantly agreed to let the Japanese pass through the country and use its military bases to strike other Allied possessions in the region, culminating in the Battle of Malaya. When Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram issued a declaration of war against United Kingdom, Britain and the United States in January 1942, Pridi refused to sign it, as he served as the Regent of Thailand, Regent for the young monarch, who was studying in Switzerland. In this capacity, Pridi built the anti-Japanese underground, the Free Thai Movement ("Seri Thai") network, in Thailand. Code named "Ruth", he established contact with the Allies and Thai resistance organisations in Britain and the United States. As the war progressed and the fortunes of the Japanese declined, public dissatisfaction grew and Phibun was forced to resign as prime minister in 1944. Khuang Abhaiwongse, a liberal lawyer and member of Seri Thai, was chosen to be prime minister due to "his ability to dissemble with the Japanese" to shield the growing Seri Thai movement while at the same time improving superficial relations with the Japanese occupiers. When Japan's surrender ended the war, the Seri Thai-dominated government immediately acted to "restore the pre-war status quo". As regent, Pridi termed "the declaration of war illegal and null, and void" as improperly made, and repudiated all agreements made with Japan by Phibun. When Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Supreme Commander, Southeast Asia, visited Bangkok in late-1945, he recorded a tribute to Pridi in which he said that there had existed a unique situation wherein "the Supreme Allied Commander was exchanging vital military plans with the Head of a State technically at war with us".

Post-war years

Pridi retired from the regency when King Ananda Mahidol returned in December 1945. He was formally named a Senior Statesman (''Ratthaburut Awuso''), and served as an advisor to the post-war, civilian governments of Thawi Bunyaket and Seni Pramoj. In March 1946, Khuang Aphaiwong, who had been elected prime minister in January, resigned. Pridi assumed the position in an attempt to stabilize the political situation, which was spiralling out of control. It was during the first months of the Pridi government that the war crimes trial of Phibun was dismissed on a legal technicality. Having noticed that Khuang shifted more and more conservative, Pridi decided to compete for political power himself. After his political allies voted Khuang out in 1946, he became the 8th Prime Minister of the country. As the Cold War raging, Thailand became a focus of the United States. Pridi, who supported the Vietnamese independence movement of Ho Chi Minh and establishment of anti-imperialist Southeast Asia League, lost the political support from the US, which led to tacit support to the coup against him. On the morning of 9 June 1946, the young king was found dead in his bed in the Baromphiman Mansion in the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Grand Palace, dead from a gunshot wound to his head. In October 1946, a commission ruled that the King's death could not have been accidental, but that neither suicide nor murder was satisfactorily proved. Sulak Sivaraksa, a prominent conservative and monarchist, wrote that Pridi's role in the event was he protected responsible royals, and prevented the arrest of a person who destroyed the evidence.ส. ศิวรักษ์
เรื่องปรีดี พนมยงค์ ตามทัศนะ ส.ศิวรักษ์
สำนักพิมพ์มูลนิธิโกมลคีมทอง, 2540
However, when his government cannot solve the case, his political opponents quickly put the blame on him; some went so far as to branding him as the mastermind behind the assassination. After a general election, Pridi resigned as prime minister, resumed his role of senior statesman, and left on a world tour, visiting Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and US President Harry S. Truman along the way. Pridi's oppononts composed of royalist, conservative and military camps. On 8 November 1947, army troops seized various government installations in Bangkok. The coup, led by Lieutenant General Phin Choonhavan and Colonel Kat Katsongkhram, ousted Thawan Thamrongnawasawat, Thamrong's government, which is the political ally of Pridi. He spent a week hiding in Admiral Sindhu Songkhramchai's headquarters. On 20 November, he was spirited to Singapore by British and US agents. The 1947 coup marked the return to power of Phibun, and the end of Khana Ratsadon's role in Thai politics. (At this time, Phibun was often considered in the military camp.) Phibun arrested King Ananda's secretary, Senator Chaleo Patoomros, and two of his pages under charges of conspiracy to kill the king. Rumours were spread that Pridi was part of a conspiracy involved in the alleged regicide, and that he had plans to turn Thailand into a republic. After a farcical trial, during which the entire defence team resigned and two members of a subsequent team were arrested under charges of treason, the judges sentenced three royal pages, associated with Pridi, to death. Biographer William Stevenson has said that King Bhumibol Adulyadej did not believe that Pridi was involved in his brother's death.

Permanent exile

Pridi secretly returned in 1949 in order to stage a coup d'état against Phibun's dictatorship. When it failed, Pridi left for China, never to return to Thailand. In 1970 he travelled to France, where he spent the remainder of his life. Pridi died on 2 May 1983, at his home in the suburbs of Paris.


Pridi remains a controversial figure in Thai modern history. As one of the leaders of the 1932 pro-democracy coup, he has been viewed in many ways. The first declaration of the "revolution," which harshly attacked the king and his government, was written by Pridi himself. Nevertheless, Pridi held the position of regent when Rama VIII ascended to the throne. During the period of military rule, Pridi was portrayed as a communist owing to the fact that several of his books and articles showed sympathy for Marxist, socialist, and communist ideologies. With obvious conflict between Pridi and the King Rama VIII, the young king's tragic death came to be blamed on Pridi. Pridi was accused of being the leader of a plot to assassinate the popular young monarch. This culminated in the military coup in 1947. In his later years Seni Pramoj promoted the idea that he had saved Thailand from post-war British colonial rule that Pridi had been willing to accept. Nigel Brailey treats the Free Thai movement as largely a sham and casts doubt on Pridi's part, arguing "it appears questionable whether Pridi committed himself personally to the Allied cause much prior to August 1942, if even then," suggesting that "his eventual anti-Japanese stance was a consequence primarily of his hostility to Phibun." Pridi wanted to remove Phibun from power, and the war offered an opportunity to do so. However, Pridi recognised well before the war that Thailand's alignment with the Axis powers would work to Phibun's advantage and enable him to strengthen his dictatorship. Even the Japanese recognised Pridi's hostility, which is why he was forced out of the cabinet in December 1941. It was the reason every knowledgeable person on the Allied side, from Seni Pramoj and Prince Suphasawat, a chief organiser of the movement in Great Britain, to former British ambassador Josiah Crosby, anticipated that Pridi would emerge as the head of a domestic resistance movement. One-time conservative monarchist Sulak Sivaraksa has emerged as one of Pridi's most ardent champions. A prolific critic of the Thai status quo, Sulak, in addition to praising the achievements of the Free Thai in saving Thailand's sovereignty, has criticised Seni and his Democrat Party for alleged complicity in the military's return to power in 1947. Sulak led efforts to rehabilitate Pridi which achieved significant results. Four Bangkok streets now are named for Pridi: three as Pridi Banomyong Road and one called Praditmanutham (his royally-granted title) Road. His birthday, 11 May, is now celebrated as Pridi Banomyong Day. In 1997 the Thai government dedicated a park in eastern Bangkok to the Free Thai resistance movement. On 16 August 2003, a library-museum, built as a replica of Pridi's wartime residence, opened at the park. On 30 October 1999 UNESCO included the centenary of Pridi Phanomyong's birth in its recognition of anniversaries of great personalities and historic events as tribute to his ideals and integrity. There are two Pridi Banomyong Memorials, one in Pridi's hometown, the other on the campus of Thammasat University, which he founded. Thammasat is home to the Pridi Banomyong Library and the Pridi Banomyong International College. The law faculty at Dhurakij Pundit University is called the Pridi Banomyong Faculty of Law. The Pridi (''Chloropsis aurifrons pridii''), a species of leafbird, and Pridi Banomyong Institute, a non-profit academic organisation, are named in his honour. The Pridi Banomyong Institute holds an annual Pridi Banomyong Lecture, initially on Pridi Banomyong Day, but moved in recent years to 24 June, in honour of his role in the 1932 coup.

Honours and awards

Academic rank

* Professor of Thammasat University

Civil Service of Siam rank

* Chief of Ministry of Justice of Siam ( th, อํามาตย์ตรี)

Noble titles

* Luang Praditmanutham of Ministry of Justice of Siam ( th, หลวงประดิษฐ์มนูธรรม) (1928-1941)

Royal decorations

Pridi received the following royal decorations in the Thai Honours Order of Precedence, Honours System of Thailand: * 1933 - Safeguarding the Constitution MedalTimeline of the life of Pridi Phanomyong
Retrieved on 19 November 2008.
* 1937 - Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of The Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand * 1938 - Ananda Mahidol, King Rama VIII Royal Cypher Medal * 1939 - Dushdi Mala Medal for Services to the Nation * 1941 - Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant * 1945 - Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of The Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao''The Royal Gazette'', Vol. 62 No. 70, Page 1900.
11 December, Buddhist Era, B.E. 2488 (Common Era, C.E. 1945). Retrieved on 19 November 2008.
* 1945 - Knight of The Ancient and Auspicious Order of the Nine Gems

Foreign decorations

* Order of the Rising Sun, 1st Class (Japan) * Grand Cross of the Légion d'honneur (France) * Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold (Belgium), Order of Leopold (Belgium) * Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy) * Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (United Kingdom) * Medal of Freedom (1945), Medal of Freedom with Gold Palm (United States of America) * Commander Grand Cross of the Order of Vasa (Sweden) * Grand Cross of the Order of the German Eagle (Germany), 1938 * Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog(Denmark)



* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Banomyong, Pridi 1900 births 1983 deaths 20th-century lawyers 20th-century philosophers Academics of Thammasat University, Pridi Banomyong Exiled politicians Grand Cordons of the Order of the Rising Sun Grand Croix of the Légion d'honneur Grand Crosses of the Order of Vasa Honorary Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George People's Party (Thailand) politicians, Pridi Banomyong Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Chula Chom Klao, Pridi Banomyong Knights Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus Luang (nobility), Pridi Banomyong Ministers of Finance of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong Ministers of Interior of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong People from Chenghai People from Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Pridi Banomyong People of the Siamese revolution of 1932, Pridi Banomyong Prime Ministers of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong Recipients of the Medal of Freedom Refugees in China Regents of Thailand, Pridi Banomyong Thai autobiographers, Pridi Banomyong Thai exiles, Pridi Banomyong Thai expatriates in France, Pridi Banomyong Thai lawyers, Pridi Banomyong Thai philosophers, Pridi Banomyong Thai politicians of Chinese descent, Pridi Banomyong Thai revolutionaries, Pridi Banomyong Thai social democrats, Pridi Banomyong